UPPSALA, Sweden, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - The first guidelines for food allergy
in children and young people issued by NICE, National Institute for
health and Clinical Excellence, recommend routine use of allergy tests
in NHS primary care and community settings to confirm suspected food
allergy. These new evidence-based guidelines support earlier diagnosis
and assessment of food allergy and states that testing is cost
effective compared to not testing.
The new Guidelines provides important evidence-based recommendations
that will if implemented help dramatically to improve the care of the
many children and young people with allergy," says Professor Aziz
Sheikh, Head of The University of Edinburgh's Allergy & Respiratory
Research Group and the Royal College of General Practitioners Clinical
Champion for Allergy.
Food has been recognised as a major paediatric health problem in western
countries because of the potential severity of reactions and the
dramatic increase in prevalence.
Food allergy can cause severe allergic reactions and even death from
food induced anaphylaxis. Patients with coexisting asthma often have
the most severe reactions leading to intensive care unit visits. There
is currently no other treatment than avoiding the food that causes the
allergy and treating the symptoms associated with severe reactions. The
prevalence of food allergy in Europe and North America, range from 6%
to 8% in children up to the age of 3 years.
NICE recommends that all children and young people with suspected
IgE-mediated allergy should be offered an allergy test, such as a blood
test, e.g. ImmunoCAP, or a skin prick test. Medical history alone is
not sufficient to make a diagnosis of food allergy. An allergy test can
help define the underlying cause of an allergic reaction, confirm or
rule out food allergy and thus avoid unnecessary treatment or dietary
restrictions. Food avoidance affects quality of life and can place
patients at significant risk for nutritional deficiencies and growth
deficit and should be avoided if possible, especially in children and
young people. NICE states that a blood test and skin prick test are
equally cost-effective compared to no test.
NICE guidelines recommend that skin prick test only should be done where
there are facilities to deal with an anaphylactic reaction as skin
prick test may provoke this reaction. NICE also states that healthcare
professionals undertaking such tests should be competent and aware of
the potential risks associated with these tests.
"We welcome these clear guidelines on diagnosing food allergy in primary
care. Children and young people with suspected food allergy will get an
accurate and timely diagnosis using the correct test for their
condition. This is very important since food allergy is a serious
condition which can cause significant anxiety in families, but which is
manageable with the right diagnosis," says Mandy East from the National
Allergy Strategy Group.
A blood test is easy, uncomplicated, safe and reliable. Unlike skin
prick testing, it can be done irrespective of a patient's age, skin
condition, pregnancy, medication, symptoms and disease activity. In
addition it may provide more detailed information on the origin of the
"It is of great value for children and young people with suspected food
allergy that NICE guidelines recommend performing an allergy test, such
as ImmunoCAP blood test. A blood test will help physicians to confirm
or rule out allergy and consequently avoid unnecessary treatment or
dietary restrictions. We are pleased that several food allergy
guidelines recommend blood tests in the diagnosis of food allergy,"
says Jean Forcione, Chief Operating Officer Phadia AB.
NIH food allergy guidelines from December 2010 recognized the superior
clinical value of ImmunoCAP. The European Academy of Allergy and
Clinical Immunology, EAACI, has also announced that it will develop
guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergies.
Phadia AB develops, manufactures and markets complete blood test system
to support the clinical diagnosis and monitoring of allergy, asthma,
and autoimmune disease. Our mission is to dramatically improve the
management of allergy, asthma and autoimmune diseases by providing
healthcare professionals with superior diagnostic technologies and
clinical expertise. We supply more than 7 out of 10 allergy laboratory
tests worldwide and 4 out of 10 autoimmunity tests to laboratories
For more information on the new NICE guidelines, please go to:
For more information on Phadia or ImmunoCAP, please visit
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